MATTESON – Today, Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-02), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust and Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, issued the following statement regarding newly released data showing that the U.S. maternal mortality rate increased in 2019.

“Maternal mortality is a tragic and worsening crisis in our country, and this newly released data is a deafening alarm warning us that we need to do more,” said Congresswoman Kelly. “Each mother who passes away from complications of childbirth leaves behind a hole in our families and in our communities.

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“Many maternal deaths are preventable, and we must continue pushing for policies that make it safer for women, and especially women of color, to give birth. I am hopeful that the provision I fought to have included in the American Rescue Plan that will increase access to postpartum care under Medicaid will allow more women to receive medical care when they need it and ultimately save lives.”

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Data just released from the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics show the maternal mortality rate for 2019 was 20.1 deaths per 100,000 live births, and indicated a statistically significant increase compared to the 2018 rate of 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Additionally, data shows that the maternal mortality rate for non-Hispanic Black women (44.0 deaths per 100,000 live births) was 2.5 times the rate for non-Hispanic white women (17.9) and 3.5 times the rate for Hispanic women (12.6). This is especially startling when compared to 2018 data showing the mortality rate for non-Hispanic black women of 37.3 deaths per 100,000 live births, non-Hispanic white women 14.9, and Hispanic 11.8 women.

Congresswoman Kelly is a longstanding proponent of legislation and policies to combat the maternal mortality crisis and save the lives of women. Earlier this year Congresswoman Kelly introduced the Supporting Best Practices for Healthy Moms Act, which would require Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to publish guidance for maternal care providers on how to prevent maternal mortality and morbidity. Last month she released the first-ever Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls report, where she highlighted the need for new policies to save the lives of new mothers. Last Congress, Congresswoman Kelly introduced the MOMMAs Act, the Protect Black Women and Girls Act of 2020, and the Helping Moms Act, which was passed by the House.

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